5 things you didn't know about engine oil and friction

engine oil blog

Fuel is a leading operating expense for individual owner, operators and fleets. Making the most of opportunities to reduce the amount of fuel your vehicles use will save both time and money.

More and more businesses are looking at new ways for their vehicles to become more fuel efficient and save money. The most popular measures implemented by businesses, particularly those running commercial vehicles, include initiatives such as driver training and telematics systems.

However, very few companies look at how and where fuel energy is distributed while driving, and how a small change, such as changing to a lower viscosity, fully synthetic engine oil can influence a vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

We all know that factors such as engine friction will have an effect on how a vehicle runs and that an effective lubrication is key to maximising engine protection and longevity. However, you may be surprised to learn how reducing engine friction can improve fuel efficiency.

Here are our top 5 things you (probably) didn’t know about engine oil, engine friction and its effect on fuel economy.

  1. The stats on fuel energy
    We’re all aware that not all of the fuel used in a vehicle goes into putting the vehicle in motion, however what you may not know is just how and where your fuel energy is broken down. Approximately half of all fuel energy produced is lost to heat with a further 15% lost as friction. That only leaves about 35% of the energy for actually hauling the vehicle.

    Although friction cannot be completely eliminated, there are ways to reduce it. This opens up a lot of possibility to improve these figures and see your fuel used more efficiently.
  2. The damage of high engine friction
    A high degree of friction can lead to both engine wear and a reduction in fuel economy.

    There are two types of friction, viscosity friction which relates to the thickness of the oil and how this influences the energy losses of moving engine parts, and contact friction which is a result of metal-to-metal contact which is often due to inadequate lubrication.

    These types of frictions have a huge effect when engine components rub against one another, such as when the engine starts up. If the oil is too viscous to be pumped, or if the oil is not thick enough to keep the components separate at high temperatures, both can lead to friction damage.
  3. The influence of temperature
    Engine friction is always present, however it has a greater impact on fuel economy and engine wear during low temperature operations. During cold engine start-ups and stop-and-go driving, your oil will be the most viscous which can lead to high degrees of viscous friction and therefore reduce fuel economy.
  4. The importance of getting the viscosity balance right
    A lubrication with a balanced formulation, which will maintain the desired viscosity over a wide temperature range over the course of the drain interval, will provide both engine protection and better fuel economy.

    Viscosity control is the single most important parameter when it comes to how your lubricant can impact your fuel economy. By balancing contact and viscous friction, there is an optimal viscosity which can minimize overall engine friction.

    If an oil can maintain its original viscosity, there is potential for fuel savings of up to 5% over the course of an oil drain interval.
  5. Lower viscosity engine oils are growing in popularity
    More businesses are becoming aware of the benefits of fully synthetic, low viscosity engine oils. They not only enhance fuel economy without compromising on engine protection, but they also boost excellent low temperature performance and extended oil drain intervals, helping keep vehicles in service for longer.

    Leading lubricant and oil suppliers, such as ExxonMobil, continue to invest in research and development to ensure fully synthetic oils continue to help and optimise engine performance and improve fuel economy.

The influence that engine friction can have on the fuel economy of your business is worth taking into account when looking at the best possible lubricants for your vehicles. Taking the time to consider your options and discover the benefits and improvements that fully synthetic lubricants can offer your vehicle’s performance will, in-turn, start to see fuel savings which will influence the bottom line of your business.

If you want to find out more about how your business can benefit from fully synthetic lubricants, contact our team of experts on 0800 980 6172 or email .

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